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Pesto Topped Sea Scallops with Asparagus

This easy recipe comes from JJ Virgin, author of Sugar Impact Diet (Fall, 2014). As she says, this is an “elegant and beautiful dinner equally fit for a busy weeknight or entertaining.” The pesto can be refrigerated up to 2 weeks or frozen up to 2 months. If you are dairy-sensitive, leave out the cheese and increase the salt by 1/4 teaspoon.
Yield: Serves 4
Total Time: 23 min
Prep: 15 min
Cook: 8 min
Additional:
Ingredients
1 pound asparagus, trimmed
3/4 teaspoon sea salt, divided
1/4 teaspoon ground black pepper
4 cups loosely packed basil leaves
1 garlic clove
1/4 cup slow roasted almonds
1/3 cup grated Pecorino Romano cheese
1 teaspoon grated lemon zest
Preparation
1.  Make Virgin Sugar Impact Pesto: Combine the basil, garlic, almonds, cheese, zest and 1/4 teaspoon salt in the bowl of a food processor. Process until the basil mixture is finely chopped. With the machine running, add 1/2 cup oil in a steady stream until a thick puree forms. Store in the refrigerator in an airtight container.
2.  Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil. Add the asparagus, return to a boil and cook until tender, 1 to 2 minutes. Drain and drizzle with 1 tablespoon extra virgin olive oil.
3.  Meanwhile, heat 2 teaspoons of the olive oil in a large nonstick skillet over medium-high heat. Season scallops with salt and pepper and add half to the skillet. Cook until scallops are nicely browned and opaque in the center, 2 to 3 minutes per side. Transfer scallops to a plate and keep warm. Wipe out skillet with a paper towel and repeat with remaining 2 teaspoons oil and scallops.
4.  Divide asparagus and scallops among 4 plates. Top each scallop with some of the pesto sauce.
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